NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in America and experts say it’s on the rise.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be raising money for its educational and support programs at its annual walks later this month.

  • Visit for more information about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Dionne Monsanto, a board member for the NYC chapter of the foundation, lost her 15-year-old daughter, Siwe, to suicide and shares her story to help others.

“For the loss survivors, it’s always important to let them know that it’s not their fault. There’s so much guilt when people pass from any reason … so letting people know that they did the best they could with the information that they had and not to feel guilty. There’s things that I’ve learned since working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, but when I start down the path of ‘oh, I should have,’ I say, let it go. I did what I could. So I really want people to be aware that they did the best they could with that information,” Monsanto said.

  • If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

“We’re living in a time where people are willing to talk more about mental health, but when you’re the one in distress, it is not easy to even tell your parents, if you’re a child or teen, or your spouse or friends and family. There’s still not a lot of language and deeper understanding about how to do that at a time, especially when you’re struggling,” said Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Moutier says there are some signs to look for in someone who you suspect may be at risk.

“Really, the key thing is to understand that people will only give little clues because we are not conversant in and without stigma yet,” she said.

It’s important to notice subtle changes in behavior, such as the way someone is talking about their stress load. There are also physiological changes, like changes in sleep, appetite, energy or drive.

“It might feel like you’re making more out of little things, but that’s the thing. Mental health and health in general is actually stable over time. There certainly are ups and downs, but don’t write it off to stress. Don’t write it off just to teenage angst and transition,” Moutier said.

Moutier suggests starting with an open conversation and make it safe for them to open up to you and tell you what’s really going on.

To find an AFSP walk near you, visit


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